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ARTICLE XV.

Affection's Gift to a Beloved Godchild. By M. H. From the London Edition. Boston, Wells and Lilly. 1819. 16mo. pp. 148.

THIS little book contains a series of letters from a Godmother to a young woman just in the entrance of life, upon many important points of manners and morals. It is not very profound or eloquent, and we might wish perhaps that it were a little more forcible. It would be better too if fewer topics had been treated, that they might be treated more at length, and, of consequence, more instructively. But considered merely as a book of hints, designed to call back to the mind of a young person from time to time an older friend's advice; and accompanied, as such a present is supposed to be and ought to be, by the authority and influence of the friend who gives; it may be of considerable value, and do much good. Such a book is frequently wanted. We give counsel to our young friends, and strive to guide them in the regulation of their hearts and the choice of their employments. But we often wish that we had something more durable to trust to, than the words which pass our lips and are so easily forgotten. We wish that we could be sure of the advice being occasionally recalled to their thoughts. Such a book as this enables us to do it. We put it into their hands, and say to them-the instructions which impress you now, may easily be lost if you be at no pains to keep them. Take therefore this book; it is small, but it contains sufficient to refresh your memory and to revive the good purposes of your heart. Read these letters as if I had written them expressly for yourself. Here is my advice; you may always repeat to yourself what I would say, by looking here. By this book I am present with you-let it have all the influence of my presence.

The letters are twenty three in number. The general topics are, Religion, the improvement of the Mind, the regulation of the Heart and Affections, and the Accomplishments of life. A few short extracts will enable our readers to judge for themselves of the manner of the writer. The subject of Religion is dismissed much too hastily. It may be said, bowever, in excuse, that it is always kept in view in the treatment of other topics, and the following passage will show that it is touched with proper seriousness and correct views.

"It is this divine principle which fosters the best sensibilities of our nature, at the same time that it corrects and regulates them; which furnishes the fittest objects for their exercise, and the plainest boundaries for their limitation. Thus you perceive, my dear girl, that religion must be a cheerful principle; for, by regulating the passions, improving the heart, expanding the mind, and softening the disposition it cannot but produce that most desirable of all results, peace of soul, and a contented mind.

"Thus far I have endeavoured to enforce its importance, in reference to your temporal happiness. But how will that importance rise in your mind, when you reflect, that by it alone you can hope for that which is to be eternal.

"Seriously reflect, my beloved child, that before we can enjoy happiness, the mind must be prepared to receive it-that there is no transmuting power in death-that unless we habituate the soul to virtue, and to piety here, and endeavour to attain a relish for those enjoyments which we are promised in heaven, even there happiness would be unknown to us.

"The germs of the qualities which are to flourish through the endless ages of eternity, must be cultivated with constant and with tender care, during this scene of our probation.

"Let this reflection sink deep into your mind, and it will be unnecessary for me to urge the subject more. Let the study of the Holy Scriptures be your daily employment, and you cannot fail to find in them delight; but recollect, they are not to be pursued merely to be believed, and remembered, and held in speculative reverence; but as the grand, the only means under divine grace, of producing in your heart that awe of the Almighty, that reverence of his majesty, that delight in his infinite perfections, and of his immutable attributes, and that affectionate knowledge of him, which will, which can alone constitute your rest—your peace -your strength-your consolation.

There is not here the force and eloquence of Bishop Watson's "Address to young Persons"-which is probably by far the best book of this sort; but we are not to judge of its value by such a comparison, but by regarding it, as we said above, as designed to recal former advice and revive the impressions of personal admonition. By the same remark we are to judge of passages like this relating to the regulation of the heart.

“The first step towards resisting temptation, is to regulate our notions; for before we can act virtuously, we must learn to think justly. The excursions of the imagination must be checked, as its restless nature gives it a power dangerous to our virtue and our peace; it deludes us into a false estimation of things, arraying them with fascinations which produce an insatiable desire to possess them; till, as it is most justly observed, "the balance of the soul is lost." Endeavour to keep alive in your mind the sense of its bewildering nature, and suffer it not to overbear your judgment; endeavour to fix the intrinsic value of the objects it presents, and learn to estimate them aright. A habit of recurring to reflection will be one of the strongest barriers against the inroads of error; the most effectual mode of confining your irregular wishes within due bounds. By watching the first motions, you will learn to suppress the first risings of such wishes--you must assert the natural power of reason over the soul, and daily confirm his authority by exercising it on all occasions, however

trivial you may think them: thus will you be insensibly habituated to resist the stronger solicitations which may assail your virtue.

"But my beloved girl will find all these means ineffectual, unless she seeks for internal strength from the FORMER of the heart. Prayer is the high privilege of frail and weak beings; that only can calm when the tumults of thought arise within, that only can bid the soul be still and rest upon its God!"

And of Sensibility--which is one of the finest letters in the book.

"There are so many counterfeits of the quality which forms the subject of my present letter, and it has been in so many instances perverted from its genuine meaning, that the term itself has been brought into disgrace; yet it is in its simple beauty, one of the greatest ornaments of our sex, as well as the source of our most amiable virtues."

"Sensibility, as far as concerns ourselves alone, is liable to equal perversions, and certainly to far superior mischiefs. It may be so misdirected and distempered as to bewilder us in the paths of error, if it does not hurry us to the precipice of guilt. It may be so refined as to render us ill calculated to meet the disappointments, to bear the coarseness and unfeeling judgments, to which our situation in life may expose us."

"Sensibility, to give worth to the character, to be the perfume which sheds its fragrance on our severer virtues, must be sustained by reason, and founded upon principle.-It is an observation of that virtuous and great man, Neckar, that There must be a conductor to the electric fluid, and one is equally wanted to the etherial flame of the imagination.' This observation is perfectly appropriate to the subject under review.

"Study therefore, my dear Girl, to obtain that command over your sensibility, that it may never rise above the pleasing participation in the joys, or the sympathy with, and the active relief of your suffering fellow beings, which I have endeavoured to enforce upon your attention; and you will assuredly feel that internal peace, a greater blessing than which I cannot wish you."

We should not do justice to the writer, if we did not quote part of the conclusion.

"The virtues I have enforced are all perfectly practicable; the employ ments, the accomplishments equally so, to a diligent and active mind. The Affections will prove their own reward, if with the Passions, they are vigilantly guarded. But I have not deceived you by saying, it requires no effort to be virtuous; all things worthy of attainment, both in the moral and natural world, must be won by attention and diligence

"I have made religion the basis of my plan, for futile indeed is human reason without its aid! The lessons I bave learned in the school of life have been severe; may you, by reading the reflections which have resulted, be warned, without encountering the sorrow experienced by your friendly monitor."

ARTICLE XVI.

A Poem, on the pleasures and advantages of True Religion: delivered before the United Brothers' Society, in Brown University, on their Anniversary, August 31, 1819. By REV. DANIEL HUNTINGTON, A.M. Providence: 1819. pp. 24.

A POEM in the measure of Spenser, and upon a subject exclusively religious, delivered on the anniversary of a literary society, is quite a novelty. It is almost a novelty from the press; and we therefore take it up, that we may give our pages a variety which they cannot often have. We are the more ready to do this, as we are persuaded that the extracts we shall make will give pleasure to our readers. For although the poem contains no very lofty flights of imagination, nor descriptions and bursts of feeling that stir and overpower; nor is free from obvious blemishes; yet it is a pleasant, chaste, and respectable production; commendable for its easy flow of harmonious versification, and passages of occasional vigor and beauty. It is, as the title indicates, entirely religious. No digression breaks its unity or interrupts its impression. The solemn majesty of the stanza is well adapted to the seriousness of the subject. Mr. H., in spite of its difficulty, manages it with considerable felicity; except that he appears imperfectly to understand the structure of the closing line.

The introduction contains an apology, or reasons, for the choice of such a subject. We give our readers the third

stanza.

III.

"Not mine the aim a vacant mind t' amuse,
And please the idle with an idle lay :

Well might the wise and fair a song refuse,

Which would but cheat their precious hours away.
Truth is the Genius of our happy day,

To her my humble off'ring let me bring,

In measure that bespeaks her sober sway,

The while a weak and trembling hand I fling

O'er Spenser's ancient lyre, with long resounding string.”

The pleasures of religion, both in retirement and in action, are depicted in the following stanzas.

New Series-vol. I.

60

XIII.

"O happy hours to pure devotion giv'n,
When, on the wings of faith, their spirits rise,
To hold exalted intercourse with Heav'n,
And bow before the Monarch of the skies!
How fair, when earth's delusive vision flies,
Yon land of promise swells in distant view;
Where Love's full fount unfailing joy supplies,
Where Eden's bow'rs their forfeit* sweets renew,
And all is pure and peaceful, all sincere and true!

XIV.

Nor less the pious pleasures that attend
His daily walk of active usefulness,

Who, like his heav'nly Master, Man's best Friend,
Lives but to love, and loving, lives to bless,
Untaught each [the] gen'rous impulse to suppress,
By worldly maxims, and by selfish fears.

A nobler aim his kindly deeds confess :
Heav'n's bounty with the poor he freely shares,
And soothes the widow's grief, and dries the orphan's tears.

XV.

Sweet is the musick of a grateful voice,

In whose soft accents grief and gladness blend;
Where pity bids a drooping heart rejoice,
And helpless mis'ry finds an unsought friend.
When days are dark and gath'ring clouds impend,
Who would not every selfish wish forego,
To act as Heav'n's kind almoner, and send

Those comforts which the sad alone can know,

And calm the swelling breast, and hush the voice of wo?"

The description of the religious cottage may be read with pleasure.

XXVI.

"Seest thou yon lonely cottage in the grove-
With little garden neatly plan'd before-
Its roof, deep shaded by the elms above,
Moss-grown and deck'd with velvet verdure o'er?
Go lift the willing latch-the scene explore--
Sweet peace, and love, and joy, thou there shalt find :
For there Religion dwells; whose sacred lore
Leaves the proud wisdom of the world behind,
And pours a heav'nly ray on every humble mind.

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